To thoroughly understand what makes Linux tick and why it's so efficient, you need to delve deep into the heart of the operating system--into the Linux kernel itself. The kernel is Linux--in the case of the Linux operating system, it's the only bit of software to which the term "Linux" applies. The kernel handles all the requests or completed I/O operations and determines which programs will share its processing time, and in what order. Responsible for the sophisticated memory management of the whole system, the Linux kernel is the force behind the legendary Linux efficiency.
The new edition of Understanding the Linux Kernel takes you on a guided tour through the most significant data structures, many algorithms, and programming tricks used in the kernel. Probing beyond the superficial features, the authors offer valuable insights to people who want to know how things really work inside their machine. Relevant segments of code are dissected and discussed line by line. The book covers more than just the functioning of the code, it explains the theoretical underpinnings for why Linux does things the way it does.
The new edition of the book has been updated to cover version 2.4 of the kernel, which is quite different from version 2.2: the virtual memory system is entirely new, support for multiprocessor systems is improved, and whole new classes of hardware devices have been added. The authors explore each new feature in detail. Other topics in the book include:
- Memory management including file buffering, process swapping, and Direct memory Access (DMA)
- The Virtual Filesystem and the Second Extended Filesystem
- Process creation and scheduling
- Signals, interrupts, and the essential interfaces to device drivers
- Synchronization in the kernel
- Interprocess Communication (IPC)
- Program execution